Alfred Binet (1857–1911) - American EducationFrench psychologist whose research with Theodore Simon to identify the ineducable retarded produced the first reliable test of intelligence and spawned the vast 20th-century intelligence, aptitude and achievement testing movement. Entitled “New Methods for Diagnosing Idiocy, Imbecility, and Moronity,” the original Binet-Simon research was done for the French government in 1905 to identify children too retarded to go to conventional schools. They developed a scale—the Binet-Simon Scale—of 30 problems of graded difficulty, each corresponding to the norm of a different level of mental abilities.
They expanded and revised the Binet-Simon Test and Scale in 1908 and again in 1911 to measure other levels of intelligence. The Binet- Simon Scale capped several decades of intense interest in child development studies and provoked a frenzy of activity by educators and psychologists in the United States and elsewhere who had been searching for years for reliable instruments to measure intelligence and educability. It set off a flurry of new norm-based tests to measure every conceivable element of mental function and thus predict the educability of every child. EDWARD L. THORNDIKE at Columbia University Teachers College and Charles Hubbard at the University of Chicago developed scales to measure achievement in arithmetic, penmanship, spelling, drawing, reading, language and a host of other skills. At Stanford University, LEWIS M. TERMAN revised the Binet Scale in 1918 to measure what he called Intelligence Quotient, or I.Q.—a new concept based on the mathematical relationship between an individual’s mental and chronological age. The revised test, called the STANFORD-BINET INTELLIGENCE TEST, has been revised several times since, but has largely been replaced by the Otis-Lennon School Ability Test, which now measures intelligence of individuals from the age of two years into adulthood.